Among Friends interview

Among Friends

Among Friends are definately one of my favourite all-time bands. Besides for making awesome music, they are some of the friendliest, most humble and most passionate people I have ever had the privilege of knowing or being friends with. A while ago I went up with some friends to watch Have Heart’s last official show in South Africa, and asked Brett if we could stay at his place. He was more than willing and when we arrived, there was bedding, coffee, muffins and toasted cheese sandwiches waiting for us. The contrast to the ‘rockstar’, arrogant attitude that has come to be expected of ‘guys-in-bands’ was obvious. This is reflected in the music side of things too, as Among Friends take a DIY, punk-ethic approach. Forget managers. Forget tour buses. Forget the profit priority. I spoke to Taryn about their EP release, A Step Forward. This is South African Hardcore. This is Among Friends.

Among Friends A Step Forward EP Out Now

Tell us about the name “Among Friends”, and how and why the band started.

The band started in early 2008. I (Taryn) had always been keen on playing guitar for a hardcore band. So I asked Brett to try vocals, which was something he hadn’t even considered before, but he agreed, and we started a band. Michael, a friend of mine, filled in on drums until we could find a permanent drummer – he was already playing in a band of his own. Graeme played bass for us at the time. After the first few shows, Clint said he was keen to play drums for us, so he took the place of Michael. We had a pretty slow start because none of us had ever been in bands and didn’t really know what we were doing. Two years and two lineup changes later, here we are, with Sean on drums and Paul on bass.

Our name is pretty self-explanatory, we’re just four friends in a hardcore band. We feel that the scene should be a place where people from different walks of life, who have different views and beliefs, can freely voice their opinions about whatever matters to them. It might seem like an idealistic take on things, given the clashes that often arise in the scene (here and all over the world) because of things like straight edge and religion, among others. Despite all that though, it’s always rad to see people just going to shows to have a good time and hang out with good friends. It all boils down to respecting the differences, being open minded, and not demanding respect because you think that’s what being hardcore is. Lyrically, our songs centre around the things that frustrate and affect us on a day-to-day basis.

Why take the ‘DIY’ route?

In South Africa, it’s difficult to not take the DIY route if you want to get anywhere. There aren’t exactly hoards of people just waiting to throw money at hardcore bands to put out releases. Besides, it’s not that difficult to do things yourself anyway, and knowing that we put hard work and our own money into everything we do, is far more rewarding than waiting around for a manager, promoter or record label to do everything.

You’ve just released your EP A Step Forward. Any other future ambitions for Among Friends?

We hope to put out a couple more releases in the future, play plenty more shows and get some tours under our belt. We’ll start thinking of bigger things when we get to that point.

Who/What are your influences as a band?

This is actually tough to answer because all of us listen to such a wide range of styles of hardcore, let alone other styles of music. Our life experiences in general are obviously a big influence as well, and some of the bands that have toured here (like No Turning Back, Have Heart and Shipwreck A.D.) have been really inspiring for us.

Any upcoming shows? When will we be seeing you in Durban again?

Yeah we have a couple. We’ll be booking some more soon. We’ll be in Durban to play alongside Conqueror, Go! Go! Bronco and Through This Defiance on the 5th March and then we’ll be playing a show at The Bohemian in Jo’burg on the 9th April with Conqueror, Touched By Nausea and Misled.

Thanks?

Thanks to you, Pete, for putting this zine together. It’s something that the South African scene needs. Thanks also to everyone who has ever been to one of our shows, taken the time to read our lyrics, supported us, or helped us out in any way. It means a lot.

Unfortunately Among Friends broke up in July 2010, but there are rumors of future things happening from some of the members, so watch this space!

Brett Among Friends

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